12 Days of Best Practices

In honor of the holiday season, I want to share 12 Best practices from a variety of resources. Some are generic to all learning and development and some target specific areas. Please feel free to add your own Best Practices in the comments below.

Delivered via a multi-media approach – using a blend of delivery methods to suit learning preferences and learner’s needs.

From Roberta Gagos on the eLearning Industry

Different media and types of training allow us to leverage different advantages. Bring together several strategies to create a well-rounded (like our friend Santa) approach.

In total: high-impact L&D professionals need to continuously train themselves.

From Bersin by Deloitte

In the modern world, things are always changing and if you want to continue to compete in the market place, learning and development programs need to be evolving to deal with an evolving workforce.

Learning by doing and establishing shared accountability.

From Mark Thomas on Training Industry

It is important to bring learners into the process. Let them help determine training goals, learn by doing tasks, and encourage them to have accountability.

Recognize the importance of veterans in your ranks.

From Workforce.com

Our veteran employees represent a wealth of knowledge. It is key to leverage and capture that knowledge to pass on the newer employees to stay on a flight path of growing success.

70:20:10—a blend formula

From Kineo

When creating blended learning, remember that research shows that 70 percent of learning occurs on the job, 20 percent from other people (social learning) and 10 percent from formal training classes. Keep this in mind when designing a blended learning program.

Begin early

From Emily Bates on The Evolllution

Training should begin from the moment an employee is hired. You want to immerse them in the company culture and establish a culture of learning.

Adults are Just-in-Time Learners

From Frontline Learning

Adult learners gravitate and retain learning that is relevant to their current situation. It is important to tie learning into current needs and make sure learners understand what is in it for them.

In gamification: Use a story context

From Karl Kapp on ATD

When implementing gamification, a story context is a powerful motivator and gives the participant a reason to interact with your content.

For Development: Code (or courses) should be written to be reviewed.

From TutorialsPoint

If you are a developer, course and code should be written so that developers in the future can easily open up the course/code files and understand what is going on and be able to make revisions.

In Virtual Classrooms: Engage People Often

From Randah McKinnie on eLearning Guild

When you deliver virtually, you lose the ability to communicate through body language. Therefore, you need to pump up the engagement. Incorporate activities that will require the learner to actively engage in the session. Use polls, ask questions, involve them in annotating solutions on whiteboard slides.

For Succesion Planning: Assess performance and potential

From Dan McCarthy on IvyExec

When thinking about employees and their future, don’t just rely on past performance. You need to develop strategies for assessing their potential as well. Just because someone is an excellent salesperson, does not mean they will make an excellent sales manager. You need to determine where their potential lies.

Performance Improvement: Training is not always the best solution.

From James Simers

As learning and development professionals, we need to analyze a situation to determine the most effective solution. The best solution may be a job aid for a task that is complex and done infrequently, it may be a change to the environment that will resolve the issue or any of a number of performance improvement strategies. Don’t start with the assumption that you need to develop a training class and make sure you have selected the best solution to the problem.

I wish you all a peaceful and blessed season as you celebrate life, love, and family!

Why the Former Teacher May be Your Next Star Employee – Part II

In last week’s Part One post, we started looking at how the skills of former school teachers transfers to the Core Competency Model™ put forth by ATD and common job description skills. In that vein let’s continue to look at those.

Managing Learning Programs

  • Provide vision and strategies for learning program design
  • Provide project management for learning projects
  • Manage outside resources
Public school teachers are given a framework for what learners need to accomplish by the end of the year, but from their, they provide the vision and work out the strategies to achieve those goals and make their vision come to fruition. On top of this, teachers are working with a diverse population and manageing the learning programs for each learner they work with. They manage other school resources, parents and school volunteers, and other outside learning resources such as field trips, SMEs that they bring into their classroom, and learning competitions that their students compete in. Just putting together a field trip is an example of their project management skills. They deal with volunteer resources, budgeting for the trip, managing transportation and determining the content that will be delivered and how it will be structured. This can also involve the creation of other materials to supplement or extend the learning from the field trip experience.

 

Coaching

  • Coach employees to improve job performance
Teachers are involved in coaching students, parents, and future teachers. Teachers constantly work with students to engage them in examining their learning progress and establish goals. They review these goals and provide accountability for the student. Many parents are looking to teachers for ways to help and support their children and teachers coach them through this and help them understand their child and their child’s needs and work with them so that parents can determine the best strategies for helping their child. This can be coaching parents in how to help with homework, or how to question their child while reading together or how to oversee their child’s project. Additionally, many teacher have taken on the role of being a mentor teacher to a colleague or a student teacher. This is a very formal coaching experience that the teacher provides and is formally assessed by the school district or a local college.

 

Knowledge Management

  • Develop a culture of learning
  • Facilitate collaboration and social learning
A classroom community has a culture of learning and the teacher is right in the middle of it. The utilize strategies to bring together learners to work on projects and learn from one another. Teachers leverage a variety of resources, identifying the sources of knowledge and bringing students together with the necessary knowledge. They foster curiosity and a love of knowledge by engaging learners and helping them see the benefits of growing and learning together. Teachers act as facilitators, moderators, and social directors for their classroom and understand how to leverage these to promote optimal learning success.

 

Performance Improvement

  • Evaluate training needs
  • Design and develop training materials
  • Implement performance solutions
These days every teacher has at least one student with special needs, whether they are gifted or receiving educational support services. These are the students where a teacher applies more than just instruction, but brings their performance improvement skills into play. They need to take the extra time to understand the special learning needs for this student and determine what solution will best help them to excel. This might be a technology aid solution, involving them in a mentorship program, or modifying their environment to increase success. Teachers are not just designing instruction and facilitating it, but they are working with the whole learner and determining and implementing performance solutions that go beyond training the learner.

 

Because teachers are in charge of a small community, they end up involving themselves with all aspects of training and development. In addition to being the instructional designer and trainer, they also serve as the project manager for classroom events and project (and sometimes school-wide initiatives), the coach for anyone they bring into the learning community, and the person who looks at all aspects of a skill deficit and not only reaches out to training, but utilizes a toolbox of performance improvement techniques. While the teacher may less familiar with corporate culture, that is easily learned and the wealth of skills they bring to the table mean that the former teacher is primed to be a superstar in the learning and development world. Instead of hesitating, companies should embrace the former teacher and leverage the wealth of abilities they have to offer.

Some Advice for Teachers Looking to Transition

Like I said in the beginning of last week’s post, the key for the transitioning teacher is to effectively communicate their skills in corporate language. The Core Competency Model is a great place to start to understand how the corporate world talks about learning and development. Adopt the terms and framing when marketing yourself through your resume, cover letter, and during interviews. Being able to talk like a corporate instructional designer will demonstrate that you have done your research on the field you are transitioning to and allow you to communicate the vast array of skills you have to offer that will enhance the potential employers company and improve their bottom line. You can make the transition and you will find the employer that has the vision and insight to hire you, their next superstar!

Looking for more information about becoming an instructional designer, check out these other posts:

How to Become an Instructional Designer

Getting into Instructional Design

 

 

Don’t Get Mad…Get Better

MadBabyI recently had an experience where a participant in one of my training sessions came to me during a break and handed me a piece of paper with tic marks on it for each time I said “uh” during the session. Inside I was feeling defensive and couldn’t help but notice this person using “uh” as he was explaining this was a pet peeve for him and that he had gone to special training to to improve his public speaking. But the reality is, that each time a person finds fault and they tell you, it is a gift and an opportunity to become better.

Here are my 5 Steps to not get mad, but get better:

  • Hear what the person is pointing out, not the tone or the presentation. When we get caught up in how someone says something, we are more likely to get defensive. Take a deep breath and choose not to get mad.
  • Asses what they are saying for truth. Think about the content and find the truth in it. In my example, I presenting round-table and sitting with all the participants and had allowed my language to be more lax.
  • Determine what you need to change to improve for the future. Outline steps you can take to make a change and improve your work, or in this case my delivery style. This particular thing was something I had addressed earlier in my career and recorded presentations so that I could hear myself and become more self-aware.
  • Implement your improvement plan. Take action to resolve the issue or build up your skills and abilities.
  • Evaluate the improvement. Always look back to see the improvement. Ideally, if the person who originally brought it up can give you another honest assessment, ask them. This makes sure that person knows you heard them and care about what they said and took action.

Growth and improvement is key to building our career and our self as a person and other people around us are our best source of information for areas where we can improve. The next time someone points something out to you, don’t get mad…GET BETTER!